The Covid-19 pandemic which has created socio-economic havoc the world over. There is no nation, big or small, which has not felt the chilling hand upon it in myriad ways. Not only has this rare phenomenon stopped heedless humanity in its tracks, it has made us all look inwards and reflect upon the life we have been leading. Somewhere along the way, in the sound and fury of today’s world we seem to have lost what was central to us… and even our basic humanity, it would seem.
At the same time the pandemic has brought families and friends together and in many ways revived the humane feeling within, encouraging us to reach out to people.
But there are those amongst us who did not need a pandemic to bring out those altruistic feelings and actively ‘do good’ for our fellow humans. Mumbai-based philanthropist and social worker Dr. Aneel Murarka is founder of social enterprise “Ample Missiion” which he successfully steers along with his teenage son Sidhaant. Over the past 30 years he has dedicated his life for social welfare, upliftment and developmental activities for his fellow human beings, society and the nation at large. Donning a variety of hats Murarka has successfully worked towards addressing a wide range of social issues.
Money, some believe, is the root of all evil. Others wonder if money is a curse or a boon in the context of social inequality, exploitation, environmental degradation and overall development. Murarka feels most likely it is both, depending on how it is generated, accumulated, shared and spent. In this framework the act of philanthropy becomes a crucial issue influenced by wealth creators and new age philanthropists who are pushing for radical changes in the society for mankind. “I personally feel that even if one person is able to say that they were better off in their life because 'We did something good to them', we will feel sorted,” says Murarka, whose works of charity speak volumes about his largesse and humanitarian nature. “It may sound clichéd to say it, but we all can discover how to live out the Universe’s bigger purposes in our own unique ways; it’s hard work, and it’s risky. But it’s worth it. For its only when we’re living to the fullest, that our lives truly bring positive change,” he continues.
Murarka concedes that money is a central fact of human existence and it isn’t going to disappear, but feels that because wealth and power have become so concentrated, our whole life has pretty much become a struggle against the corrupting influence of money on democracy and humanity flourishing. “We already have the resources to eradicate poverty if we want to. It wouldn’t require a revolution. It would only require an adjustment of our priorities in favour of a larger good of the society and nation,” he opines. “Making money is a happiness; making our fellow humans happy is super-happiness” adds Murarka with a smile.
The biggest inspirations for Murarka’s world outlook have been his father Kashi Murarka—a great social worker in his own right, and his late grandfather Chiranjilal Murarka, who was not only a philanthropist but also a freedom fighter. His approach to philanthropy and social work was not just driven by the large additional resources at his disposal, which made the difference in people’s lives or for a social cause, it was also the way he would approach the challenges he faced.
As a true patriot Murarka has brought a determined focus on outcomes, along with the courage to find and try innovative solutions to deliver results for impending problems that plague our society and nation. He has conducted countless campaigns aimed at the betterment of mankind, many of which have been lauded for their impactful outcome. He and his organisation Ample Missiion work in several fields, ranging from organising inspirational award shows, healthcare, road safety projects, sanitation-cleanliness drives, education for underprivileged children and many more .
When the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, wrought havoc in its wake, carrying forward the core principles of social responsibility to reach out to the needy, Murarka and Team Ample Missiion spearheaded many humanitarian initiatives across India at multiple levels, distributing medical supplies and food for hundreds of affected people. “Throughout the day we co-ordinate with our various team leaders, local support groups, medical NGOs and government officials, thus effectively contributing to multiple ongoing relief initiatives in different states,” he explains. During such a global crisis Murarka has proven to be an excellent exemplar who lives up to the real meaning of the word philanthropy – “a love of humanity”.
Through Ample Missiion’s initiatives Murarka has also been reaching out to marginalised communities such as tribals, acid survivors, specially-abled and cancer patients deprived of basic needs. Using his entrepreneurship skills and expertise he is working on a more sustainable source of income for these neglected communities.
His work for gender equality too has been highly commendable, given his initiative of providing opportunities for the transgender community and creating platforms to showcase their talent. A very first event in ‘gender inclusion’ was his initiative at the Times Fashion Week 2019, at which the opening show was by models from the transgender community; the showstoppers were activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi and trans queen Navya Singh, along with Murarka himself. He did it again in 2020 at the fashion show titled “Sindoor Khela” with designer Rohit Verma and actress Urvashi Rautela as the showstopper. Its aim was to empower women to challenge norms that led to unfair traditions being imposed on them for the last 400 years. Murarka asserts: “Society can really progress when we learn to accept our differences and start looking past them. Everyone deserves equal opportunities equal rights and it is our duty as citizens to support this equality.”
As a trustee of Samarpn, C.B. Murarka Charitable Trust, Murarka has also been involved in the establishment of several public utility projects such as Shivdham Crematorium in Mumbai, and the multi-purpose temple complex Narayani Dham at Lonavala. In Rajasthan, in his hometown of Lachhmangarh, the Trust has built a fully air conditioned bus stand, multi-storied living quarters for policewomen, a Hanuman temple, etc.
Murarka has also produced many short films on current issues such as Swachh Abhiyan– cleanliness, anti-tobacco, road safety, and breast cancer awareness that have made a lasting impact on the masses and have even gone viral on social media.
Murarka and son Sidhaant, along with Team Ample Missiion, continue to pursue many philanthropic initiatives. As he puts it very succinctly: “We very firmly accept the urgent realities required towards betterment of mankind. Let us strive to live in harmony with our fellow beings and take action towards a more sustainable future for coming generations. Every day is a new learning for us and there is a lot of work to be done with so little time left in these uncertain times.”